When it comes to finding inspiration for their songs, Ashley Lloyd Thompson and Alex Thompson—who sing, write and play guitars in the band The Shapes—can look just about anywhere. “A lot of our songs are inspired by our environment, whether that’s the natural environment that we’re surrounded by here in Santa Cruz or longing for that environment,” Alex says. “We’ve written a few love songs too, and a couple of duets that revolve around hope or love.”
Ashley, for her part, loves the fact that you never quite know what you’re going to get from their songs when you first hear them. “It is a mixed bag,” she admits. “[The songs are] fairly diverse. Some of them come directly from real-life experiences and then are combined with other feelings.” Tracks like “Take Me Home” zero in on the band’s sometimes country-rock sound and their aforementioned penchant for writing love songs, and the laid-back folk of “Sky Pilot” shows how easygoing, lighthearted and fun the band’s music can be. The hybrid Americana rock and spaghetti Western-style country track “California Dinosaur” longs for a simpler time when trains were the kings of coastal transportation. Another more personal track, “Sailing Away,” takes the theme of longing even further. “It’s based on the story of my grandfather,” Alex says. “He left home when he was 14, back during The Great Depression. So I was just kind of thinking about his existence, and I guess it’s that idea of longing for something better and then constantly having that change as you grow.” Ashley sums up the band best when asked why music is so important to them. “I think it’s just a part of who we are,” she says. “For me, music’s just a natural outlet for expressing whatever might be inside me at a given moment.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Sunday, June 30. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.